How to Avoid CRM Failure

CRM Failure

3 Causes of CRM Failure 

Back in 1999, Hershey missed out on massive Halloween profits because of their inability to deliver orders. A few years later, Cigna health insurance customers couldn’t get their prescriptions filled or inquire about their coverage, causing the company to lose almost $400 million in revenue. The cause of these painful disasters? CRM failure.  

CRM failure was all too common in the 90s and early 2000s, resulting in up to billions lost in poor software investments and tarnished business reputations. Fortunately, CRM has come a long way since then. Modern, cloud-based solutions simplify implementations and usability while delivering powerful insights and fast performance. Still, a 2017 report found that about a third of CRM projects experience failure of some kind, whether it’s budget overrun or poor usability.  

This puts businesses in a quandary. CRM is becoming critical for managing data and customer experiences, but is it worth the risk? We’ve set out to prove that if you approach your CRM project with a clearly defined process and goals, you can mitigate risk and make incredible business improvements. To help you achieve CRM success, we’ve identified three causes of CRM failure and how they can be easily avoided. 

1. Moving Too Fast 

One reason for Cigna’s faulty implementation is the company’s rush to launch the software. Software projects entail detailed planning. Cutting corners in the business process modeling or testing stages, for example, can result in major errors or insufficient support for business processes. Though it’s understandable that businesses want to get their software up and running quickly, a bad go live can spell disaster for your investment. When you take the time to do it right, you’ll ultimately save a lot of time and money in the long run. 

In their rush, many companies also pursue big bang implementations, in which all the new software functions and modules are launched on the same date. Businesses choose this method to avoid turning their go live into a long, drawn-out process. However, enterprises take on major risks when they attempt a big bang implementation. Instead of just taking care of errors and questions for one or two modules at a time, your IT personnel are stuck dealing with issues across all business features. 

For most businesses, a phased implementation is the way to go. This incremental approach allows you to deploy separate systems across a period of time. That means your IT department only needs to worry about fixing problems and helping users for one module or location at a time, making it more feasible to correct errors and encourage user adoption. We know you can’t afford to take years to implement your enterprise software, but you must still take the time to carefully follow best practices to reach CRM success.  

2. Poor (Or No) Change Management 

Unfortunately, you can’t expect your employees to instantly adapt to change. Salespeople may fear that they’ll be patrolled by supervisors through the new CRM software. Additionally, users might not see the need to ditch their current processes in favor of an unfamiliar system.

That’s why change management is integral to successful user adoption. Change management is the process of training and preparing users for upcoming operational shifts. Far too many businesses go without change management, resulting in enterprise-wide confusion and a wasted investment. 

Communication plays a key role in getting employees ready for new software. When you explain the purpose of the CRM implementation and how it will be utilized for better efficiency and more sales, you can build excitement from your future users. You can also address questions and find out specific pain points to smooth over in the implementation. User involvement signals that the CRM is truly meant to improve employee productivity and increase individual performance. Who doesn’t want that? 

The other critical aspect of change management is training. Without instruction, users will wind up repeating past mistakes, entering data incorrectly or ignoring integral functionality. Provide hands-on training to ensure specific employees know how to perform day-to-day tasks on their new platform. But don’t just stop at showing how—explain why they need to utilize these features to foster business growth. This depth of understanding will encourage users to take full advantage of their new CRM.

3. Scope Creep  

It’s not uncommon for businesses to take on too much during their software projects. The CRM implementation of job search platform Monster was such a case. Overladen with added features, the platform was rendered unusable, performing too slowly and unable to provide access to accounts and customer data.  

Monster’s futile CRM implementation serves as a cautionary tale. When businesses overcomplicate their project, they risk all-out failure. Too many customizations burden your software and extend the timeline and budget of your implementation. To avoid scope creep, you must prioritize system criteria. Just because a feature sounds nice to have doesn’t mean it’s essential. Focus on the necessities for executing day-to-day activities and removing current pain points; save other functions for a later date.  

Scope creep doesn’t only result from poor prioritization of business requirements. The other cause is lack of communication. Sometimes, the project team, stakeholders and executives aren’t on the same page. This can result in sudden scope changes. For example, stakeholders might demand an extra feature that they don’t realize will add substantial costs and time.  

To keep everyone on the same page, collaboratively document goals at the project’s forefront. Conduct regular meetings to track progress and discuss any potential changes. Simple as these strategies sound, they’re invaluable to maintaining clear communication and avoiding costly scope creep.  

Wrap Up 

Though CRM failure is less prevalent and disastrous than it was in the past, it still occurs when project teams avoid following best practices. By learning from high-profile disasters and paying attention to your users and unique business needs, you can gain the CRM system of your dreams and start growing your bottom line. 

Nothing helps you steer clear of software failure better than expert consultants. Datix’s CRM consulting firm has over 20 years of experience in providing solutions and services to manufacturers and distributors. Certified partners of Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM and Salesforce, we make sure each client has the best CRM solution for their specific requirements. Plus, with our Unity integration solution, we can seamlessly integrate CRM with Epicor ERP. Connecting CRM and ERP powers end-to-end visibility and productivity to maximize the value of your software. 

Team up with Datix to make your CRM implementation a success. Learn more by contacting our premier consultants today! 


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